- Posted by John Ackerman
- On April 2, 2018
- 0 Comments
- Forms, FormVoice, Voice
Humans have been writing things down since at least 7000 BC. Starting out with stone, shell, or wood, humans moved on to paper around 200 BC. Somewhere along the way (though nobody thought to record when) people started using forms to keep track of information. Forms are a natural way of collecting and organizing information. We use them today for tracking census information, applying for a driver’s license, and filing our taxes just to name a few.
Even with all this history, paper forms have not changed very much over time. The advent of the internet as a medium for information exchange, revolutionized and continues to revolutionize many areas of life. The internet today is full of wonder. We can order groceries from our phones that are delivered on the same day. We have the power to protest and influence politics in 140 characters. It makes sense, then, that the internet should have done something to change the way we deal with paper forms. So far, however, the internet has not made the difference one would expect.
The State of Web Forms Today
Here is a short list of some of the issues with today’s web forms.
- Impersonal – Web forms miss out on the chance to truly engage with users, reducing them instead to data entry clerks
- Inflexible – Entire sections of forms may be completely unnecessary based on the user’s needs or situation, yet those sections are displayed to the user all the same
- Complicated – Many forms come along with pages of instructions to explain to a user exactly how to fill out a particular box
- Inaccessible – Most web form implementations cannot be accessed easily by those who rely upon accessibility devices to browse the internet
- Unengaging – A user completes a form and then what? Generally, they get a generic “thank you” message and nothing else.
The FormVoice Solution
For these and other reasons, we have been working to develop a new service called FormVoice. FormVoice is our attempt to revolutionize web forms and bring them up to the state of current technology. Here is how FormVoice solves the problems above.
FormVoice utilizes a conversational dialogue to collect information from your users. The application addresses users by name and leads them through the completion of a form in a way that mimics natural human conversation, rather than presenting blank spaces with impersonal labels. FormVoice engages with your users in much the same was a chat agent, or more recently, a chat bot.
Because FormVoice is a conversation, it only presents topics to the users which are relevant and necessary for their situation. This reduces clutter on the page and user confusion while completing your form. Users feel like the conversation is tailor made for them and is responsive to their needs in real-time.
FormVoice removes the need to add instruction sheets to your forms. FormVoice leads your users through a conversation which results the proper completion of your form fields. The user no longer needs to understand your formatting, coding, or keywords. Instead, they simply answer a series of questions and FormVoice uses your business rules to correctly identify and populate the result.
FormVoice is a multi-channel conversation engine. Today FormVoice has out of the box support for voice engagement via Telephone, SMS text messaging, and web-based conversation. This provides accessibility to all users in whatever channel and by whichever device they are most comfortable with. Further, FormVoice exposes a REST API allowing for the presentation of a conversation to complete your form on any internet connected device. This is especially useful for integrating with web chats, but is also compatible with Facebook messenger, Skype, Alexa, Google Home, Amazon Echo, and others.
In addition to inbound conversations, FormVoice also has support for outbound conversations. These take the form of simple notifications that are triggered by responses or state changes in your forms, or more complicated outbound conversations. This enables you to engage with your users via two-way dialogues tailored to their responses in your form, leaving your user feeling like they are getting great personalized service, without any extra effort on your part.
To learn more about FormVoice and how we’re working hard to solve your problems with web forms, visit our product page located at https://www.formvoice.io. Watch this space for more information about FormVoice as we develop and release it.
If you’ve got a project that could benefit from FormVoice, or if you have questions about voice user interfaces or conversational development, feel free to reach out to us!